Hello from North Haven!
This weekend marked the start of my favorite holiday: Passover!
As has become tradition, more than 20 of my closest friends (the final headcount was 28!), including 10 kids ages 19 months – 18 years, gathered to celebrate the feast of unleavened bread. This year, in a true demonstration of interfaith support and radical hospitality, the minister and his wife opened their slightly larger kitchen and living room to the gathering, as there was no way we were going to fit everyone.
My sister and brother-in-law came up from Waltham with their itty bitty chihuahua, and new friends and old shared parsley, Hillel sandwiches (matzo, charoset and horseradish – so delicious!), wine and grape juice.
As always, reading from the Union Haggadahs passed down to me from my parents, via my maternal grandfather, I felt the connection not just to my family, but to my Ashkenazi ancestors and the whole Jewish faith and culture. I felt that connection radiate out through my friends and neighbors on North Haven, my adopted home.
We connected the story of Passover to Transgender Day of Visibility, especially in light of the reemergence of the attempted ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. We connected it to Black Lives Matter, and acknowledged systemic racism and honored the memory of Stephon Clark. We connected it to the violence that very day in Gaza. Passover is a liberation story, but freedom still eludes people in every country, in every walk of life.
After the very abridged seder, we feasted for hours. I brought stuffed cabbage and matzo ball soup, my family’s traditional Passover meal. This year we even had gluten free matzo and matzo balls, for those who needed them. Others brought roasted vegetables, cauliflower fried rice, artichoke dip, and a show-stopper hazelnut cinnamon pavlova. A matzo icebox cake shared the spotlight. Some kids went next door, where a friend had thoughtfully set up a babysitter, and others lasted through clean up. My daughter’s best friend brought her a bouquet of flowers for the occasion.
Passover on North Haven has become a tradition my non-Jewish friends look forward to every year. As the headcount grows each year, and the voices joining to tell the story of the symbols of Passover and the Exodus out of Egypt become louder, I strengthen my connection to my community and my Jewish identity.
Chag Pesach Shalom!